Bachelor of Science in Public Policy

Bachelor of Science in Public Policy

The Public Policy major is designed for students interested in policy issues, politics, public administration, and related areas like policy analysis and policy advocacy. The program explores a myriad of critical issues facing our communities, the nation, and the world. It enables its graduates to exercise responsible leadership to foster positive policy change. Students may wish, but are not required, to pursue a concentration within the Public Policy major. The following concentrations are currently available:

  • U.S. Public Policy
  • Law and Justice
  • International Policy

Overall, the Public Policy program seeks to advance the ideals of an active, informed citizenry and a commitment to public service.

Our proximity to the state capital at Harrisburg provides students with a rich environment for study and internships. In addition to our full-time faculty, Public Policy draws on part-time faculty with particular professional expertise and strengths. In recent years, students have explored politics and political issues in classes taught by a state senator, a former lieutenant governor, a corrections system administrator, and a governor’s press secretary. This integration of academic study with the practice of Pennsylvania politics and policy making is further enhanced through quality internships that enhance learning outcomes by immersing students in a credit-earning, real-world experience.


Internships are an important part of the Public Policy program at Penn State Harrisburg. Their purpose is to provide students with a realistic exposure to the public policy professional environment, combined with on-the-job experience in their field of study, while earning academic credit. Penn State Harrisburg’s proximity to the state capital provides many exciting opportunities for student internships in state agencies, the legislature, and political organizations. All students are encouraged to begin preparation for an internship upon admission into the Public Policy major. Most internships are completed during the senior year. Students applying for internships must have completed 60 credits, have a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, have completed core course work, demonstrate computer literacy, and have the permission of the internship coordinator. Additional information regarding internships may be obtained by contacting the School of Public Affairs' Internship Coordinator Alison Shuler, B.S.

Career Opportunities

Students graduating with a major in Public Policy can plan for a career in a variety of professional environments. The program provides a unique opportunity for students to tailor study to a specific interest or to one of the designed concentrations. Students graduating with a concentration in Law and Justice: The Legal System are prepared for careers related to the legal aspects of public policy. Those who have studied in the concentration of World Politics: National Security, International Relations, Comparative Politics are prepared for careers in international service, foreign affairs offices, and multinational corporations. Students whose concentration was American Politics: Process and Management are prepared for careers in campaign management, political consulting, polling, and politics. Those who studied under the concentration of Public Management: Theory and Practice are prepared for careers in leadership and staff positions in local, county, state, and international government. A Public Policy degree provides an excellent background for entry into a variety of graduate programs, including law school, Master of Public Administration degree programs, and graduate degree programs in political science and public policy.

Job Titles

Students in the Public Policy major receive the educational foundation for careers in the public sector, in government-related businesses, and in non-profit organizations, as well as for graduate work in the fields of law, public administration, criminal justice, public policy, political science, and healthcare administration. Building on the program core, students may choose electives from a broad array of courses in public policy and other areas.

The following lists some of the job titles for graduates of the Public Policy program: Government Administration/Management, Non-Profit Management, Legislative Staff, Lobbyist, Management Analyst, Policy Analyst, Survey Research, Strategic Planner.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 40 percent of all Public Policy graduates are employed in government positions. A large number of Public Policy graduates become employed in the private sector for businesses and corporations, 10 percent in education, 3 percent in nonprofit administration, and 5 percent are self-employed.